July 18, 2011 •
Lawmakers Tapping Into Their Social Media Resources
It seems that following Obama’s Twitter Town Hall, politicians across the nation are following suit and making the effort to use social media to connect to their followers more than ever. Hopeful Republican presidential nominee Newt Gingrich, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont are three examples of such politicians.
Being one of the first politicians to utilize the new Google+, Newt Gingrich hosted his first Hangout, posting the 13 minute long video of him having a conversation with up to 10 regular Americans at a time onto YouTube. TechPresident published an article written by Nick Judd providing the video and more information here.
Following in President Obama’s footsteps, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez held his first virtual town hall meeting to answer questions about his proposed budget on Thursday, July 14. With the help of a moderator, he spent an hour fielding questions from residents sent via Facebook, Twitter, and the county’s website. The event was also live-streamed. Read the full article from the Miami Herald written by Luisa Yanez here.
When Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont delivers a major speech, his staff tweets a play-by-play, available immediately to his Twitter followers, and those who “like” his Facebook page can cheer him on. Also, visitors to his official website could sign a petition to President Barack Obama saying they agree with Sanders’ speech on deficit reduction, which over 130,000 did. For more information on this and many other examples of politicians utilizing their social media platforms to reach out to the public are described in an article from FederalTimes.com titled “Lawmakers Tune in to Social Media” by Nicole Gaudiano.
These are but a few examples of state and national lawmakers using social media, making themselves more available and accessible to the public. While before “liking” someone on Facebook or “following” someone on Twitter seemed to be a one-way street where supporters could show support and receive updates from their politicians, now these supporters are being offered more and more chances to interact with their lawmakers in real time in a way that would not have been possible only a few years ago. Social media has just begun to revolutionize the way the government communicates with the public, slowly but surely giving more opportunities for active participation by the public that before seemed infeasible.
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